Should I consolidate my credit card debt? If so, how to do it with a low interest rate?
Best Answer: Here is a plan that can help you. If you work the plan, the plan will work for you:
A. Have a garage sale and sell anything that you no longer need/use
B. Do NOT do a loan consolidation. It will show up to be almost as bad as a bankruptcy on your credit report.
C. Consider getting a temporary part time job. Many places are hiring now for the holidays. If you can bring in an extra $1,000 per month, then you can dump all of this debt in less than a year. It is better to have a no fun year than a no fun decade.
D. You are netting close to $38K per year now. Keep a spending journal for the next two weeks or a month and write down every penny that you spend. I am sure that when you look through that journal, you will find lots of things that can be cut from your budget.
1. Make a budget. Make the budget a week before you get paid. A budget is not a punishment! It is a tool which will free you from ever having to worry about money again. Put everything in your budget. Especially those annual, biannual, or quarterly bills like car registration, insurance, etc. Give every dollar you are going to bring home the name of where it is going. Add an "emergency fund" category to your budget for 25 dollars and save up until you have 1000-1250 dollars. Your emergency fund will help keep you from getting into new debt because of an emergency. If you can, set up a direct transfer to a savings account for your emergency fund. That way it moves automatically and you don't even have to worry about it. You must cut your spending and live on less than you make.
2.First get current on all of you debts, if you are not already, and make no more late payments, if you have had any. Stop using your credit cards immediately. Do not take on any more debt. Credit cards are like quicksand only the death is much slower. Make a list of all of your debts in order of highest interest rate to lowest interest. Use cash only for your spending from now on.
3.Pay the minimum due on all of your debts and then put your extra money towards paying off the highest
interest one first. After you get that one paid off, you put the money you were paying on debt #1 (the minimum payment and the extra payment) towards debt #2. That will pay debt #2 off faster. When that is paid off, you put all three payments towards card #3 and that one will be paid off pretty quickly. As an example:
Debt #1 (highest interest): minimum payment+ extra payment
Debt #2 (middle interest): minimum payment
Debt #3(lowest interest): minimum payment
Debt #1: paid off
Debt #2: minimum payment from Debt #1+ Minimum payment from Debt #2 +extra payment
Debt #3: minimum payment
Debt #1: paid off
Debt #2: paid off
Debt #3:Mimimum payment from card #1+ minimum payment from Debt #2+ minimum payment from Debt #3+ extra payment.
That way, you will get them all paid off, on time, and pay the least interest. It will also help towards rebuilding your credit since you will no longer have any late payments. This works no matter how many different debts you may have.
4. After you get all of your debts paid off, add to your emergency fund until you have 6-12 months of income saved up. Put that emergency fund money into a liquid money market fund or into a Bank of America no-risk CD so that if you need the money you can take it out without penalty.
5a. When you have your emergency fund in place, add a category for "fun" to your budget. Save for a holiday, a vacation, a big screen, or dinners out, whatever goal you want. Remember to enjoy your life.
5b. When you have your emergency fund in place, start saving for your retirement. Join the 401(k) plan at work and contribute the maximum. Your employer probably matches at least part of your contribution so why give up free money? Open a Roth IRA and contribute the maximum on a monthly basis. If you start saving for your retirement now, you will probably retire a millionaire.
5c. When you have your emergency fund in place, start saving for your next car. Only buy cars, or other things that depreciate, with cash. Save up for a nicer car. That way you get the interest instead of paying the interest.
You can do it and it isn't as hard as you think. Just follow the plan.Source: answers.yahoo.com